Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that it is “finalising plans” for the formation of a new airline.
The new operation will utilise the national carrier’s six Airbus A380 aircraft to transport Muslim travellers to and from Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
“Malaysia Airlines is already transporting Islamic pilgrims on charter flights to Saudi Arabia very successfully and is in a good position to cater for increased passenger demand on this route,” the airline said.
The move is likely to see Malaysia Airlines reconfigure its A380s. Currently, the double-decker jets seat 494 passengers in three classes, but the pilgrimage routes would demand higher-capacity aircraft with up to 700 seats.
Following the re-assignment of the A380s, Malaysia Airlines’ existing A380 routes, such as Kuala Lumpur-London, are likely to be operated by the airline’s new A350 aircraft, the first of which are scheduled to be delivered in 2017.